Neville names ideal candidate to replace Wenger at Arsenal

Date published: Monday 23rd April 2018 8:46

Gary Neville believes Arsenal need to replace Arsene Wenger with a manager “who can punch above their weight”.

Arsenal are faced with appointing their first new manager in 22 years this summer, with Wenger announcing he will step down at the end of the season.

A number of managers have been linked with the post, ranging from Carlo Ancelotti, to Brendan Rodgers, to Patrick Vieira.

But Neville believes the “outstanding candidate” is the manager Arsenal will face in the Europa League semi-finals: Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone.

“Luis Enrique is the favourite, and I’m asking the question, looking at it from a football point of view, who is the right person to take over at Arsenal?” the Sky Sports pundit said on the Gary Neville Podcast.

“Luis Enrique has been successful, but we discussed in the studio how good an opportunity is at Arsenal. What exactly is that opportunity?

“Is the opportunity to get Arsenal back into the Champions League? Or is the opportunity to get Arsenal to win the Premier League?

“If it is the latter, one of two things has to happen. They have to have a manager who can punch above his weight, and the second thing that can happen is Arsenal’s board start to match the spending of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, but that isn’t likely.

“So they have to have a manager who can punch above their weight, and the outstanding candidate for me is Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.

“Season after season he has challenged, not just in the Champions League but in La Liga too, with a team that has a big budget but nowhere near that of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“What the new Arsenal manager is taking on with Man City and Man Utd, and to a lesser extent Chelsea, is huge financial might. £150m, £200m ploughed into the team each season.

“If you’re going to compete with that, you have to have an outstanding manager to do so, and Simeone is that manager in Europe at this time. He has continually done it.

“To try and prise him away from Atletico Madrid would be the big move, and people say that wouldn’t be the Arsenal way. But I dispute that strongly.

“The Arsenal way has changed over the years, and it wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest the new Arsenal way can be a little more pragmatic than the current team. Simeone is a winner, a fighter, he will culturally change everything.

“If Arsenal have aspirations to win the league, and are not going to do it by spending, they’re going to have to do it by spending less and achieving more. That’s difficult, and you need a special type of manager to do that.”


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